Controversial tax breaks proposed for development across from Ga - KMOV.com

Controversial tax breaks proposed for development across from Galleria

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Developers are hoping to finish phase two of the Boulevard in Richmond Heights. Credit: City of Richmond Heights Developers are hoping to finish phase two of the Boulevard in Richmond Heights. Credit: City of Richmond Heights
Here is a map showing how long the new shopping center will be. Credit: City of Richmond Heights Here is a map showing how long the new shopping center will be. Credit: City of Richmond Heights

RICHMOND HEIGHTS (KMOV.COM) - Restaurants, shops and luxury apartments dot The Boulevard in Richmond Heights, but it's only half complete and has been that way since 2005.

The plan for phase two, or Boulevard South, would extend the current shopping complex to Antler Drive, replacing a strip mall and Mattress Firm store. It’s been the city’s vision to complete the development along Brentwood Boulevard, across from the Galleria, for more than a decade.

“Right now it seems like it’s been a constant work in progress,” said Scott Cernich, manager at Relax the Back, a shop on The Boulevard.

Relax the Back was one of the original business to open in the shopping complex and the news that the long languished phase II is getting underway is good to hear.

“I think extending it out further will allow people to spend a whole day here," said Cernich.

Pace Property, currently owns the property but a Chicago-based developer wants to purchase the completed and uncompleted property with the hope of finally finishing the project.

“It’s a mixed used development, multi-story with retail and some residential above the retail,” said Amy Hamilton, city manager for Richmond Heights, when describing the $78.9 million development.

In 2015, the city approved a tax-increment financing (TIF) package for the property. That tax break that caused concern for Clayton School District.

The district sent a letter to parents saying: 

“Should the project, which is in the Meramec Elementary attendance area, generate any additional enrollment, the district would not receive any corresponding revenue until 2039 and, once the project is complete, would be out hundreds of thousands of dollars of new revenue each year until the TIF expires.”’ 

Hamilton says they are aware of the district’s concern and add that the residential component of the new development was still being discussed but could include between 50-160 apartments. But she says without tax incentives, the project would not happen.

“It hasn’t happened to date with the TIF that was already in place. In 2007 we approved the TIF for phase two and even since 2007 we have not seen construction,” said Hamilton.

The city is expected to approve the transfer of ownership in October with the hopes of the project’s completion in 24-36 months.

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